Michaelmas 1962 – press coverage

Two meetings attracted press reports: Sir Julian Huxley’s was reported in the Oxford Mail of 21 November 1962:

































and Bishop Ambrose Reeves’ plea for a change in the law on homosexuality made not only the Oxford Mail (24 November):




















but also The Guardian on the same day:










The Daily Herald (5 November 1962) had a short reference to OUHG:











In its January 1963 issue, The Humanist (published by the Rationalist Press Assocation) reviewed the Michaelmas term:

and the Ethical Union’s News and Notes for December 1962 reported on OUHG’s success in an item looking foirward to the University Humanist Federation’s conference:

On 30 October 1962 The Times acknowledged in a long article headed “Oxbridge Freshmen ‘Deluged’ with Religious Tracts” that though the strength of the evangelical OICCU and its Cambridge counterpart CICCU was undeniable, “neither can boast as large a membership as the humanist groups, which attract students outside any organized religious body”.

This copy is from a sadly faded wet-process photocopy: see second column under cross-head “Humanists’ Strength”.

[Michaelmas 1962]              [Posters]

OUHG’s printing press

In Trinity 1962 the OUHG bought an Adana flatbed printing press.  This was the initiative of Pete Binns, the OUHG’s first printing officer, who had learnt his skills at school. It was henceforth used for termly cards and posters for the Group’s meetings and OUHG also took in work from other university clubs and societies.

A year later it was celebrated in Cherwell’s “John Evelyn” gossip column (18 May 1963):

Three weeks later (Cherwell, 7 June 1963) came this:





































Oddly, Oxford Circus (May 1963) disagreed:



[Trinity 1962]      [Posters]    [Survey]       [Spanish petition]

Trinity 1963

Josephine Newcombe was president, Wendy Kaplan secretary and Peter Griffiths treasurer.  Speakers included Alasdair MacIntyre, Isaiah Berlin, and John Robinson, the Anglican bishop of Woolwich whose book Honest to God was making waves.  There was press coverage both of meetings – in particular a series of lengthy reviews in Isis – and of a variety of other topics, serious and otherwise  The term also saw the publication by the Church of England Newspaper of an article by ex-president David Pollock on Why I am not a Christian.

Only one poster survives – for Wynford Hicks’ discussion on atheism and anarchism, which he has supplied:


















[Press coverage – meetings]      [Church of England Newspaper article]      [Press coverage – other]

[Hilary 1963]           [Michaelmas 1963]

Hilary 1963 – opposition to the Christian Mission

The SCM (Student Christian Movement) organised a Mission to the University led by Trevor Huddleston, the Anglican priest renowned for his work in South Africa in opposition to the apartheid regime. The OUHG considered this a direct challenge and so embarked on a vigorous and argumenative response.  [A transcript of these items, bar the Tribune column, can be found here.]

We put up posters:

circulated leaflets:

and attended all Father Huddleston’s lunchtime question and answer sessions.  At one of these he said shockingly that he could think of no reason for his wonderful work in South Africa if he did not have his Christian faith – as recorded in one of our letters to Cherwell (23 February 1963):

Cherwell (9 February 1963) had run its own critical editorial, in which it appeared to believe the mission was being run by the shiny-faced evangelicals of OICCU (Oxford Inter-Collegaite Christian Union) rather than the relatively thoughtful SCM: in fact, OICCU boycotted the mission!















The OUHG stand was noted not only in the local Oxford press:





















































(Oxford Mail, 11 February 1963)

which was followed on 14 February by:

but also elsewhere – in The Times (11 February):
























in the Guardian (11 February)

and on 15 February in Christopher Driver’s column on the churches:
























in the Yorkshire Post (11 February):























in the Birmingham Post (11 February):
























and Donal Soper mentioned OUHG en passant in Tribune (15 February):

Mandrake in the Sunday Telegraph (3 March 1963) made gentle mockery of OUHG while recording that it was now “the largest university society, with a membership, this term, of 859”:


The religious press also noticed us.  This was the Church Times (15 February 1963):

– which called for a correction (1 March 1963):


















The Church of England Newspaper had this (15 February 1963):

followed by this (22 February 1963):

– which also called for a letter to the editor (15 March 1963) – a letter that may well have been the reason why the CEN soon invited David Pollock to write an article on Why I am not a Christian:




















And the Baptist Times reported on 21 February 1963:










[Hilary 1963]      [Posters]          [Isis on the Humanists]      [Unmarried but pregnant]        [Behaviour of the Press]        [Women in the Union]           [Other press coverage]
[Correspondence with Francis Crick]

Hilary 1963 posters

Week 1:








Week 2:









Week 3:









Week 4:









Week 6:









[Hilary 1963]         [Opposing the SCM Mission]      [Isis on the Humanists]

[Unmarried but pregnant]        [Behaviour of the Press]        [Women in the Union]

[Other press coverage]          [Correspondence with Francis Crick]

Hilary 1963

Leonard Evans was president, Josephine Newcombe secretary and Tim Johnson treasurer.  On 10 March committee members for Hilary and Trinity terms were photographed at Christ Church Meadows:

Back row: Peter Griffiths, Glyn Vale, Peter Smith, Chris Meakin, Connaire Kensit, Nick Kenyon, Peter Selman, David Pollock, Carl Jones, David Aikman

Front row: Rodney Pickering, Josephine Newcombe, Elisabeth Bowmer, Leonard Evans, Angela Briggs, Wendy Kaplan, Terry Deakin

Speakers included Francis Crick, Barbara Wootton, J D Bernal and Cyril Bibby.

The term was perhaps the busiest ever for OUHG.  It was notable for:


Barbara Wootton produced a text for her talk on 19 February which was published in the University Humanist Federation Bulletin for Autumn 1963 and reprinted in The Freethinker of 13 December 1963.

[Posters]       [Opposing the SCM Mission]      [Isis on the Humanists]

[Unmarried but pregnant]        [Behaviour of the Press]        [Women in the Union]

[Other press coverage]        [Correspondence with Francis Crick]

[Michaelmas 1962]         [Trinity 1963]


Michaelmas 1962

David Pollock was president, Leonard Evans secretary and Josephine Newcombe treasurer.  The term saw the OUHG’s biggest ever membership, over 1,200.  Speakers included Robert Graves, Professor A J Ayer, Professor H L A Hart, Sir Julian Huxley and Marghanita Laski.

The inside pages of the termly card were printed on paper that was too thin, so that they suffered from print-through.

See here for surviving posters for the term and here for press coverage during the term..

[Trinity 1962]          [Hilary 1963]